Chicago Gets Satisfaction!
as published in the September 25 edition of the DePaulia
Proving that they can still fully rock the house, the Rolling
Stones performed their opening night gig at Soldier Field Tuesday with
breathtaking showmanship. Figuring that they didn't really need to plug
their new album, "Bridges to Babylon," they relied heavily on their
catalogue of hits. The spirit was there from the start, as the opening
number was the classic "Satisfaction, after which Jagger announced, "The
Bulls, the Bears, and the Stones," to a cheering crowd.
Despite the fact that I purchased tickets through a Sprint
promotion, and ordered them before they went on sale to the general
public, I still had seats that were a little too far away. But we took
solace in the giant, oval-shaped monitor that was provided. This was
just one of the many grand spectacles of the elaborate stage. Other
spectacular effects included the 2 giant (appr. 50 ft) statues of female
nudes on either side of the stage (whose little clothing recalled ancient
Egypt, apparently to go with the theme of their latest record); and a
different lighting theme for almost every song.
Keith Richards looked sharp in a leopard skin coat, and his
occasional, trademark, cigarette. Mick Jagger also looked spiffy, as he
sported six different costumes throughout the show. He also impressed
with his stage presence. He used the entire stage as skillfully as a
baseball hitter uses the entire field. He sashayed to the deepest
recesses of both sides several times, to the delight of the fans on the
sidelines. While singing, he kept all parts of his body moving to
visually display his superior expressiveness. However, the biggest treat
was when the entire band walked through the crowd to a little stage set up
in middle of the audience. Sans any special effects, they played three
songs there, the highlight being "Let it Bleed."
The giant monitor worked beautifully, unless you count the fact
that the music and the images of Jaggers' lips were out of sync. Besides
the surprisingly cold weather, that was the only flaw of the show. Well,
I also wish that Jagger had spoken more the crowd, or at least
acknowledged Chicago more, especially for the grand blues scene here,
whose influence runs deep into Stones' music, and was a big reason that
the Stones are headquartered here during this first leg of their tour.
Performing "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Brown Sugar"
as their encore, the sold out stadium crowd was on its feet, applauding
appreciatively until the end.
Blues Traveler opened up the show with a 45 minute set that,
surprisingly, did not inlcude their biggest hit, "Runaround," but did
include a cover of "Blister in the Sun," the huge 1981 hit from Violent
Femmes. They were also well-received by the crowd, as they hae developed
quite a following in the relatively brief time they have been together.